TERRE HAUTE —
The preaching of the Rev. Billy Graham is quite familiar to particular generations in Terre Haute.
The famed evangelist gave his first sermon as a Wheaton College student, while leading a traveling student group, at the Terre Haute Bible Center in the winter of 1940-41. Graham will present what is billed as his “last crusade” with a half-hour message tonight — his 95th birthday. The pre-recorded program, part of his “My Hope America” campaign, is scheduled to be aired on the Trinity Broadcasting Network at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.
Various Terre Haute area churches have also organized watch sessions of the program on DVD, which is titled, “The Cross,” and is anchored by his message recorded at Graham’s North Carolina home.
Some churches’ watch sessions have an in-home format, focused on relationship building between hosts and participants who are not actively involved in a faith life, said the Rev. Honnalora Hubbard, executive director of Terre Haute Ministries and state coordinator for Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
The format at Maryland Community Church, south of the city on Indiana 46, allows anyone from the general public to attend a viewing of Graham’s message at 6:30 p.m. today, with refreshments available.
The video program features a new message from Graham, along with clips from his past crusades, delivered in huge stadiums across the globe. It also includes testimonials from individual people about their life-changing acceptance of Christian faith.
A Reuters news service report quotes Graham saying in the program, “Our country is in great need of a spiritual awakening. With all my heart, I want to leave you with the truth.”
Graham is well-known as “America’s pastor” and has advised every U.S. president since Harry Truman. Globally, more than 215 million people have heard Graham speak live in more than 185 countries and territories, according to the BGEA. “Hundreds of millions more” have experienced his crusades through television, radio, film and webcasts.
In Indiana, in addition to the TBN broadcast, “The Cross” is scheduled to be aired on Indianapolis’ WTHR-TV at 7:30 p.m.